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Self-Hatred : Hlubiny

Self-Hatred's sophomore is an interesting slice of Death/Doom, presented in their native Czech.

Before I begin this review, I'd like to mention my appreciation for Self-Hatred's decision to utilise its native language on this album. Over the years, I've found that too many bands force themselves to sing in English even when it's detrimental to their music. Lyrically, there have been some absolute calamities because of it, which is perfectly understandable for people trying to speak a language that is not their first. I know plenty of English people that butcher the English language so what chance does the average Joe from abroad have?! How can someone hope to express themselves properly in anything but their native tongue, though? It's not impossible but it's unrealistic to expect it so I don't know why so many attempt it. Therefore, I'm pleased that Self-Hatred has not catered for the demands of the masses on 'Hlubiny' with everything on the release being listed in Czech.

Needless to say that translating the song titles and lyrics involved me going overdrive with Google Translate (which, as always, I'd take with a pinch of salt) but I don't mind that at all. Every day's a school day, and learning languages in any capacity appeals to me greatly. Even the relative teen-angst lyrics unearthed as a consequence could not dissuade me from my stance! I'm not sure what else I hoped for with a band name like "Self-Hatred", really, but I stand by what I said - kudos to the band for sticking to its guns.

Self-Hatred's style on their second full-length release 'Hlubiny' is a more emotional brand of Death/Doom. They tend to drift between the typical love and hate elements on a rather frequent basis in the form of slow, soft passages and more up-tempo pieces accompanied by harsh vocals.To put that a little more plainly, if this album were a break-up, most of it is played at the stage where you see your ex dating your best friend. That works, though - I'd argue that the band is better at producing the 'hate' element, aided by some fairly poor production in places, but I can't complain about either in any major fashion. I wouldn't have the audacity anyway, bearing in mind that Self-Hatred has somehow managed to seamlessly utilise the sound of a saxophone occasionally within this Death/Doom release!

I think it's plain to see that Self-Hatred has been inspired by Gothic Metal but the band stays true to Death/Doom in general. The general pace of the release is slow with more 'contemplative' riffs although the more memorable passages are found when the band steps it up a notch. I'm torn between whether I find this album average or innovative, to be honest. That in itself should say it's worth a spin though. The general music on this release has been done dozens of times before but some elements haven't, and they weren't done in the desperate 'quick, panic - we need to do something to make us stand out' manner either. If nothing else, 'Hlubiny' is an interesting album despite the relatively Emo name of the band. I'm a big fan of their guitar-work on this release too - it's clean, atmospheric, and shepherds the music along brilliantly.

In terms of production, the music isn't great. However, speaking as somebody that used to listen to underground Hungarian Black Metal in his 'cooler' days, I can assure you that I have definitely heard worse production than this - even in the Doom Metal sphere. To put that into context, listening to 'Hlubiny' does sound like it's music that is coming through your neighbour's wall - it's just that your neighbour actually lives in the house adjoining your own rather than five miles away in a secret underground bunker.

The best way I can surmise this album is to say that it's very curious. I won't stick my neck on the chopping block and say that anybody in particular would enjoy 'Hlubiny' but I think everybody should give it a whirl because it's different and intriguing. Church bells, saxophones, organs, harsh vocals, spoken vocals - where else can you find a band that manages to fuse these elements on one album?! Their lyrical approach may been teenage (or it may not be, depending on if Google Translate is trolling me) but their song structures are mature, patient, composed, and creative. In a somewhat bemused way, I like what Self-Hatred has done here, and that's despite them fusing some elements that I seriously dislike. So, yeah - give it a try, and keep an eye out for this band in future. Oh, and extra points are awarded for the use of a legible font on their album inlay too, of course.

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Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
1. Konec
2. Odraz
3. Hlubiny
4. Střepy
5. Vzplanuti
6. Apatie
7. Očistec
8. Epitaf

Duration : Approx. 43 minutes

Visit the Self-Hatred bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-04-25 by Ian Morrissey
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